Saudi Arabian Soccer Star Gets Knocked Unconscious By Own Teammate During World Cup Upset

by Nick Geddes
(Photo by Lionel Hahn/Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia left back Yasser Al-Shahrani suffered a gruesome injury during his team’s 2-1 upset victory over Argentina in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Tuesday.

The injury occurred in the fifth minute of stoppage time in the Group C opener with the Green Falcons defending their lead against the No. 3 ranked team in the world. Teammate and goalie Mohammed Alowais inadvertently struck Al-Shahrani in the face with a flying knee while coming off his line and attempting to clear an Argentina cross. The 30-year-old, who plays for club side Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia, was bleeding and had to be stretchered off the field.

After the match, doctors diagnosed Al-Shahrani with a fractured jaw, broken facial bones and internal bleeding.

Prior to the injury, he played a big part in keeping the Argentina attack at bay. One of the favorites entering the World Cup, Argentina netted its lone goal off of the left foot of forward Lionel Messi, who converted from the spot in the 10th minute. La Albiceleste recorded six shots on target to Saudi Arabia’s two, but failed to make the most of its chances.

Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, didn’t miss. Forward Saleh Al-Shehri knotted things up at one in the 48th minute before left wing Salem Al-Dawsari scored perhaps the goal of the tournament thus far just five minutes later.

Saudi Arabia Pulls Off Massive Upset

The win snapped Argentina’s 36-game unbeaten streak in international play and is its first loss to a team ranked outside the top-50 in the FIFA World Rankings in over 10 years.

“All the stars in the sky were aligned for us, but don’t forget Argentina are still a fantastic team. This is football, sometimes totally crazy things can happen,” Saudi Arabia head coach Hervé Renard said after the match, via ESPN. “… Sometimes the opposition does not have the best motivation. It’s normal; it also happened to us when playing lower teams. Some people don’t understand, but you can imagine that when you’re playing against Saudi Arabia, the motivation is not the same as playing against Brazil.”